What are your thoughts about an amateur shooter who shoots every other weekend as far as his ability to develop and improve thru the various ability levels? I understand in generality about professional instruction and a properly fit gun but how long does it usually or normally take for an athletic 55 year old man to develop to AA or Master levels or to shoot on tough courses (State competition etc.) to score in the high 80’s?
I coach shooters with a wide variety of personalities and personal situations. My observation is that there are five factors that effect the rate at which a shooter progresses assuming that gun fit and eye dominance have been properly addressed.
These five factors are:
- Commitment level
- Resources (time, money equipment)
There is no substitute for time behind the shotgun, shooting and competing. Our sport is one of kinesthetic learning, of feeling and doing. The more you shoot, the better you get. Each shooter has a different commitment level. Your expectations for your proficiency must be consistent with your commitment level. Additionally, shooters differ in their aptitude. The hockey goalie and the baseball player will progress a bit faster than the couch potato. Lastly, the quality and consistency of coaching will have a big impact.
I have a 65 year-old student who is a duck hunter and decided to take up sporting clays. He is retired, took monthly lessons and made it to Master Class in 23 months. Then there is the 38 year-old executive who shot a great deal recreationally, but never competitively. After only a year of shooting registered targets, with a lesson every couple of months, he has progressed to AA Class and is well on his way to Master. On the other end of the spectrum there are shooters whose goals are unreasonably high given the resources and time they have available or the shooter who has the time and resources but is not particularly driven to compete.
Your most important goal should be to have fun and keep your expectations in line with your commitment level. If your expectation is to reach AA or Master Class while shooting only one round of sporting clays every other week, you probably need to adjust either your expectations or your commitment level.